When you can't use an entire box of store-bought puff pastry, is it OK to refreeze it? Here’s the definitive answer.
Whether store-bought or homemade, puff pastry by definition is delicately crisp and ultraflaky—and the last thing you’d want to do is ruin its texture. So if you find yourself with an extra sheet that you’ve already thawed, will it harm anything if you refreeze it?
Before we answer that question, a little bit more on this famously flaky pastry.
WHAT IS PUFF PASTRY?
Like croissants, turnovers, and Kouign Amann, puff pastry is made from a laminated dough. Lamination is the process of enclosing a thick slab (or “block,” as bakers call it) of butter in dough and then repeatedly folding and rolling the package into thin layers that alternate between butter and dough. When the pastry is baked, the water in the dough vaporizes, puffing up the pastry into flaky, buttery layers full of airy pockets.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU REFREEZE PUFF PASTRY?
To put this question to the test, we singled out two common brands of puff pastry: Dufour Pastry Kitchens, made with butter, and Pepperidge Farm, which at the time of our testing was made with a combination of butter and shortening. (Note: Pepperidge Farm has since changed its formulation to include only shortening.)
We allowed a sheet from each brand to thaw overnight in the refrigerator (per the package directions).
Then, we cut rounds of dough with a cookie cutter from half of each sheet and baked them until bronzed and cooked through. We rewrapped the leftover doughs (being sure not to compress the layers) and put them back in the freezer.
Two days later, we thawed the refrozen doughs in the refrigerator and baked more rounds.
Our results: We couldn’t tell any difference at all between the once and twice-frozen Pepperidge Farm pastry and only a barely discernible difference in the refrozen Dufour pastry. The Dufour pastry did not rise quite as high as the control, but we still found it perfectly acceptable.
WHY DOESN’T REFREEZING DAMAGE PUFF PASTRY?
When you thaw a sheet of frozen puff pastry the first time, the fat—no matter the type—will soften. Refreezing the pastry simply rehardens the fat. And though the water in the dough will go through two cycles of freezing into a solid and thawing into liquid—and this may impact the dough a little turning it ever-so-slightly soggy and marginally impeding its rise—it won’t be enough to make a difference.
So go ahead and refreeze your thawed puff pastry. Chances are you won’t notice a difference at all.